“Improve constantly and forever the system of Production and Service.” – Deming
Quality, a most generic terminology, is widely defined in different ways by different authors. The most basic notion of quality is ‘Fit for its intended use’. This means conformance to the requirements or if possible exceeding them for value addition beyond customer expectations.
But how to we ensure quality? This can be done with Quality Management System(QMS), set processes and standards defined to ensure desired level of quality in various phases of development/production. These defined processes and standards when implemented help organization to achieve certain goals and objectives.
To help ensuring quality, Quality Assurance (QA) ensures that these standards are defined and followed in the desired way. These set of standards and processes when implemented yields input to analysis of its performance and hence results in quality improvement.
Quality Improvement (QI) is a formal approach to analyze performance and systematic efforts to improve the processes. So, QA and QI activities must go hand in hand where each form inputs to the other one. Continuous quality improvement thus is virtually never ending iterations of QA and QI to make the processes sustainable and consistent.
Total Quality Management (TQM) covers all of above with an integrated and continuous effort to improve processes to meet organizational goals and objectives.